Tuesday, February 13, 2018

ANC Orders Zuma to Resign as South African President
Joseph Cotterill in Johannesburg
Financial Times

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress said on Tuesday it has ordered President Jacob Zuma to resign, signalling an end to his scandal-hit rule and paving the way for Cyril Ramaphosa to take power.

Ace Magashule, the ANC’s secretary general, said Mr Zuma, who has resisted pressure to step aside, had asked for to remain in office for between three and six months, but was rebuffed due to the urgency of restoring the integrity of public institutions.

Mr Magashule, an ally of the president, suggested that the ANC would now seek to remove Mr Zuma through a no-confidence vote in parliament, a move that is likely to extend the crisis in the ANC.

“All necessary parliamentary processes that arise from this decision will now ensue,” he said, signalling that the ANC is preparing a vote of no-confidence in Mr Zuma.

The ANC’s national executive committee decided to sack Mr Zuma after a marathon 13-hour meeting into the early hours of Tuesday that capped weeks of intrigue and political paralysis, as the president resisted pressure from party leaders to stand aside. His nine years in office have been plagued by corruption scandals, a stagnating economy and sliding support for the ANC.

Referring to Mr Zuma as a “deployee” of the ANC, Mr Magashule said that the decision to fire him from the presidency “was taken only after exhaustive discussion on the impact such a recall would have on the country, the ANC and the functioning of government.”

The party has been gripped by a power struggle since Mr Ramaphosa, the deputy president, defeated Mr Zuma’s preferred candidate to be elected the ANC’s leader in December. Supporters of Mr Ramaphosa insisted that the president resign immediately to allow his successor to begin the task of turning around Africa’s most industrialised economy, root out graft and revive the fortunes of the ANC ahead of general elections next year.

As the talks dragged on Mr Ramaphosa visited Mr Zuma at his official residence in the capital of Pretoria just before midnight on Monday where he reportedly delivered an ultimatum to the president to resign or face dismissal. An official letter confirming the sacking could be sent to Mr Zuma later on Tuesday. An ANC spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

No party member has resisted an order by the more than 80-member NEC to leave a government post. Thabo Mbeki resigned as president in 2008 after being told to step down by the NEC months after he lost a party leadership battle to Mr Zuma.

However, Mr Zuma, a ruthless political survivor and former ANC intelligence chief, could refuse to heed the NEC because its decisions are not legally binding. Should he do so, the ANC would be forced to remove him through parliament, which elects the president, prolonging the political crisis.

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